Whether you are looking for a lovely flowering plant with serious tropical vibes or a leafy houseplant to provide texture, you can find both in the anthurium family. There are over 1,000 species in the genus that originated in Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean. This slow-growing houseplant also goes by the names laceleaf, tail flower, or flamingo flower.
Most anthurium varieties bloom, although some cultivars are grown primarily for their foliage. The care for these houseplants is generally similar, but some cultivars are known to be particular. Learn what anthurium care entails to help your plant look its best.
Types of Anthurium
Some anthuriums set more impressive flowers, and others put on a stunning foliage display with less showy flowers. Some plants remain compact, while others push out massive foliage and can grow very large.
Anthuriums set blooms in a wide range of colors. The flowers have heart-shaped spathes with a waxy texture that almost looks artificial. The spathes surround yellow flower spikes. The foliage of flowering varieties tends to be more subdued. Some anthurium cultivars are known for their unique large leaves, often exhibiting deeply veined texture or an elongated shape. Some of the more well-known anthurium varieties include:
- Anthurium amnicola
- Anthurium andreanum
- Anthurium clarinervium
- Anthurium magnificum
- Anthurium pedatoradiatum
- Anthurium radicans
- Anthurium scherzerianum
- Anthurium splendidum
- Anthurium superbum
Anthurium Light Needs
Bright indirect light is best for anthurium care. This is an understory plant that, in nature, grows as an epiphyte and can be found under the tree canopy in rainforests. Anthuriums like sunlight, but direct light can singe the foliage. Plants in low light will fail to thrive and may not set flowers.
How Often to Water Anthurium
Anthurium plants need constant moisture. Let the soil mostly dry out before watering, but never let the soil completely dry out. Water when the top layer of the potting mix is barely damp. When watering, get the soil completely saturated until excess water drains through the pot.
The leaves may droop or go limp when the plant is too dry. Water right away, and the plant should bounce back. Yellowing at the tips of the foliage signifies the anthurium is overwatered. Wait until the soil starts to dry out before giving the plant a drink.
Best Soil for Anthurium
The ideal soil for anthurium care will be rich and moist but well-drained. This plant naturally grows as an epiphyte, so it is not suited to standing water but prefers damp conditions. Soil that sheds water is best. Potting mix formulated for orchids is usually a good option, and you can customize the soil by mixing in peat moss and sand.
Temperature for Anthurium
Most anthurium plants prefer to stay above 60° F, but the varieties grown for foliage normally like to be even warmer. Temperatures between 65° and 85° provide ideal anthurium care. Keep the plant clear of drafts near exterior doors or old windows, and do not place the plant near heating or cooling vents.
Rainforests are the natural habitat of anthuriums, and as such, these leafy beauties like lots of humidity. Some of the larger cultivars can be especially picky about the moisture levels in the air. Anthuriums are excellent plants for humid areas with increased dampness, but you can still enjoy these popular houseplants in dryer climates. Inspect the leaves for browning along the edges, which is a sign that the air is too dry. At the slightest indication your anthurium needs more dampness, use a humidifier or a pebble tray.
Pay attention to your plant around the change of seasons. It’s entirely normal for plants to thrive during the summer only to decline as fall turns to winter. Be proactive if your home is prone to dry winter air, and take steps to increase the humidity before the plant has trouble.
As a flowering plant, fertilizer is a must to provide proper anthurium care. Feed flowering cultivars using a fertilizer high in phosphorus. Plant food with a high middle number, like 15-30-15, will provide additional phosphorous to support blooming. A balanced fertilizer or a product high in nitrogen will support foliage production. Feed anthurium plants that are blooming weekly using a diluted fertilizer.
Remove dead or damaging foliage and spent flowers so the plant can direct all its energy into new growth. Trim dead growth using clean, sharp pruning shears. Shape the plant as necessary if you want to maintain a uniform look.
Do Anthurium Bloom?
Yes! Some anthurium plants are known for their lovely tropical-looking flowers. The flowers can be in white, pink, red, orange, yellow, purple, black, or green hues. Some cultivars have bi-color flowers for an even more stunning display. Flowers can bloom for an extended time, making this plant a lovely addition to a home. Anthurium plants typically bloom for a few months at a time, followed by a couple of months without flowers before another bloom cycle starts up again.
If your plant is not blooming, and you think it should, get back to the basics of anthurium care.
Does Anthurium Need to be Staked?
Anthurium plants do not always grow in soil in nature. These plants latch onto trees and other plants to try to position for optimal conditions. Anthurium plants sometimes need a stake or support to hold them up because they don’t have the structural support of an extensive root system. They are experienced climbers that can hold themselves up when they have something to hold onto.
When to Repot Anthurium
Anthurium plants let you know when they need to be repotted by sending out air roots. These roots are the plant’s attempt to spread out and find a new home because it has outgrown its current pot. Other signs that an anthurium is ready for an upgrade are slowed growth and not blooming or blooming less often.
Expect to repot anthurium plants every two years. Wait until the anthurium is not blooming to repot. Select a pot at least one inch larger in diameter and repot the anthurium using fresh soil. Repotting is the ideal time to propagate your anthurium since it is easier when the plant is out of the pot.
Anthurium plants generally live for about five years. However, propagating your plant ensures you always have a healthy and vibrant plant. Anthurium can be propagated via division and root cuttings. Remove the plant from the soil and use clean, sharp shears or a knife to divide the plant into multiple sections. Each section should have adequate roots and a few leaves. Air roots can be removed and propagated on their own to create a new plant.
Is Anthurium Pet Friendly?
Anthuriums are not pet friendly, meaning this flowering beauty is not a good choice in a home with cats and dogs. All parts of anthurium plants are toxic to pets and children, so keep this plant away from curious animals and little ones.
Anthurium Styling Tips
Showy flowers and equally showy foliage make anthurium plants easy to style. Select a neutral or subdued planter, so the plant stands out, or match the extravagance of the plant with a fancy decorative planter. You can’t go wrong, so match your decor and pick what you think looks best. Anthuriums are excellent tabletop plants, while some larger varieties are wonderful floor plants.
Anthurium Care Tips
Anthuriums are collectible plants. You start out with one and realize how stunning it is, and then the next thing you know, your home looks like a jungle. These tropical beauties have high humidity needs, and it is easy to feel like you’re overwatering them, but once you get the hang of anthurium care, these plants are easy to maintain.